Robert Wagner - October 11, 2009Former Phillips resident Robert L. Wagner, 95, of the Nebraska Veterans Home, died Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009, at the home.
Services were Saturday, Oct. 17 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Grand Island with The Rev. Mark A. Maresh officiating. Burial was in the Phillips Cemetery. Military honors were provided by the U. S. Army Honors Team and the United Veterans Honor Guard.
He was born April 10, 1914, at Valparaiso, the son of J. Rufus and Christine (Christensen) Wagner.
He grew up in Phillips, graduating from Phillips High School in 1933. He attended the University of Nebraska studying the field of dairyman. After his schooling he worked for Sutter Dairy. He later worked for Kuester Distribution.
He entered Troop E Fourth Calvary on April 13, 1938 to May 10, 1938.
He married Erma F. Baumann on April 30, 1939 in Grand Island. They lived in Grand Island and he began his service in the Army/Air Force in June 25, 1943. He served during WWII with the 12th Bomb Group, 434th Squadron in China, Burma, and India Theater, flying 70 combat missions during this time. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 15, 1945.
He returned to Grand Island where he again worked for Kuester Distribution and later for the U.S. Postal Service as a clerk, retiring in 1983 after 30 years of service. He was owner of Nebraska Cycle Company, currently Harley Davidson Central.
He began his volunteer labor after retirement. He was the spearhead for the refurbishment of the Phillips Memorial Hall, volunteering the supplies, equipment, labor and knowledge. He was the original can man, first to collect cans for Habitat for Humanity. He was a faithful member of the NRA and education of youth of the 2nd Amendment. He was a teacher of hunter safety and was a staunch supporter of Grand Island Central Catholic. His favorite pasttime was playing Santa to numerous children and he was an avid reader.
He was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, founding member of White Spot Motorcycle Club, NARFE, Phillips Lions Club, Lifetime member of the NRA, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, BPOE, Elks, VFW and GICC Fine Arts Guild.
Survivors of the immediate family include one daughter, Michalynn Wagner of Corinth, Texas; seven grandchildren, P.F.C. Evan Westpfahl, Dawn Westpfahl, Cassie Westpfahl, Brittany and Alicia Statler, Kylie and Collin Sorensen. Three great-grandchildren; special friend, Jay Osterbuhr.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Erma, brother and sister-in-law, Arthur M. and Margit Wagner.
Memorials are suggested to Habitat for Humanity, GICC Foundation for Tuition Assistant, or Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.